“World War Z: Oral History Of The Zombie War” by Max Brooks

Posted on 12 Mar ’11

Post from February 2008 :

© Max Brooks, Random House Inc. All rights reserved.

As my first real post to the blog, I thought I would kick it off with a review of a book I read very recently as recommended by a few of my close friends. This book was released in 2006, so it is quite an old book, but I have only managed to get around to it now.
World War Z is a collection of fictional stories, memories in fact, from a variety of survivors from the Zombie War that resulted from the Zombie Apocalypse. The book follows a documentary style of writing, which is very intriguing and interesting to read. New york based Max Brooks (yes, I thought so too, and yes, he is the son of Mel Brooks) has also authored the more practical fiction novel “The Zombie Survival Guide” – a how to guide to kick zombie ass and how to survive, of course.

What really impressed me with this book, was the scientific nature of the story (you could be forgiven in thinking this is actually very plausible….today). The interviews with survivors are time-lined, but not linear. From this cinematic view, we can understand the story from the initial outbreaks, the complete dissolution of society, humanity overcoming their greatest adversaries (human nature, and the zombies), and the messy clean up job….didn’t mention much about repopulating the planet however. The conceivable nature of this book, from the outbreaks of a virus, to the monumental un-readiness of the worlds governments (taken from the current state of society) to protects its people for such a global catastrophe is a terrifying thought. It does beg the question….can we as a society handle any global pandemic successfully..but that discussion is for another day. The un-readiness is even more visible, in certain parts of the stories, where zombies and soldiers stand-off (or where the soldiers stand, and the zombies shamble towards their prey), where the old Confucius saying “Do not use a bow and arrow to kill a mosquito” could have been put to better use. Some of the inventive methods of keeping the Z’s at bay are scary in their effectiveness, and inhumanity (towards humans more so than zombies)…I won’t mention any more details…as you should read it for yourself.

I would be an average science fiction admirer (not quite there enough to call myself a, but this book was a fantastic read. No wonder this book is being made into a film, as Max Brooks has managed to paint this documentary in such a cinematic fashion, that the screenplay writes itself. Let us hope this movie does not follow the long list of book to film adaptation failures that we have recently seen. A forethought for the production company who bought the rights to this books is to perhaps bring in the directorial talents of George Romero – the zombie genre guru (Dawn of the Dead and Land of the Dead) or J. J. Abrams (Director of the film Cloverfield), which would actually be the perfect style for this book. If you are any sort of science fiction fan or zombie apocalypse genre reader…..I would recommend it is as a must own. If you are just an average Joe, this is a thrilling read for an insight into what could come to pass….


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